You wrote,"in a practice sense, doing other martial arts is simply a quicker way of learning physical self-defense techniques than studying Aikido on its own."
I don't have a problem with your response at all. I think you're premise is a good one. That's not my issue. My point was a reaction to the idea that combining different arts (along with Aikido) is the answer. I suggest that Grant finds one and sticks to it. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
"Well, to be fair, there should be *some* idea of how long it takes to use Aikido as a martial art or for self-defense, whatever. Even in Tai Chi (Taiji is the current preferred spelling), it's expected to take at least 5 years, according to the Chinese. The fact that many westerners have been practicing Taiji for 30-40 years and can't use it as a martial art suggests that it's either them or their teacher, doesn't it? I.e., it's not that the martial art is lacking. So maybe if people at least suggested the possibility that the reason cross-training is needed for Aikido *MAY* be not just the fault of Aikido... that should be considered as well."
I don't think I am disagreeing with Mike either. Aikido does take a long time to learn but so do most martial arts. Learning one would be more time efficient. I myself do 3 martial arts but I do aikido 4 days a week and I only have one evening a week for each of the other two and most times, I can hardly make it to the other two. I work and have a family so if I wanted self defense, three arts is not the way to go. I have been doing Daito ryu for two years and am a beginner. In Iaido, I am less than a novice. Maybe I'm slow but by now, I am definitely getting the idea that the martial arts aren't a fast track to self defense and anyone who really knows more than one art proficiently knows that.
I teach at a dojo that has Wing Chun and Goju Ruy karate. In Wing Chun, they definitely aren't in any rush. Our guys in Aikido after one year are doing a lot more than the WC guys are. (That's not a slam either. They practice fighting at least at 3 ranges and I would think that would take longer than what we are doing.) The Goju guys take as long as we do for a black belt but I really don't find them more prepared than we are. In fact, the Goju Ryu instructor has become my student. Look at his resume.
He has been an Army Ranger and was in Special Forces. He tells me that Aikido is plenty tough enough for him. Two other Karate black belts are training with us. I have also had an 8th dan in Taekwondo and instructors in Shorin ryu, Shito ryu ,and Shotokan training with us as well. None of these guys seem to be as insecure about Aikido as the Aikido people are.
Maybe what I'm trying to say is that it frustrates me the way we so glibly start recommending a combining of arts without realizing that couldn't possibly be the answer to Grant's situation. I will,say that if Grant can find an art that will train him in more than one style of fighting, take that but don't take three arts! At least not for the purpose of added proficiency because I submit that if you become proficient on one of those, you will drop proficiency in Aikido and probably never realize it because you can't know what you never found out.
Mike Wrote,"I suggest getting in shape... the mind knows when the body is in fighting shape and worries disappear proportionately. Notice how O-Sensei worked out constantly to maintain his normal strength and his ki strength."
I wholeheartedly agree with this. In fact, that's why I am only relying on Aikido because I do agree with this. I train hard and long and with the best and if I get into trouble, standing or on the ground, the other guy is going to know he was in a fight. Training in more than one martial art (for added proficiency) would diminish this not add to it.
In short, I say take a martial art you can believe in and leave Aikido out if you think it lacks what you need. The art of Aikido is in danger of being lost if we use it as one of three or four choices for raw self defense. Train in the arts for their character enriching and transformative features and learn some self defense in the long haul. In the short haul, a gun will work but just being alert, staying out of dangerous places and working to stay out of trouble will do a lot better for you than any three or four martial arts combined.